Atorvastatin is from a class of drugs known as HMG CoA reductase inhibitors, or simply as statins. Atorvastatin’s therapeutic action is to lower the levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDLs, also commonly known as bad cholesterol) and fats and increases the levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDLs, commonly called good cholesterol) in the body. Atorvastatin lowers the levels of these LDLs and fats by inhibiting their production by the liver. Decreased levels of LDLs and increased HDLs are known to reduce the risk of heart diseases and to prevent strokes and heart attack. Atorvastatin is approved for use in adults and children of age 10 or older.
Side effects of Atorvastatin:
Common side effects experienced with the administration of Atorvastatin include the following:
- Flu-like symptoms such as stuffy nose or a sore throat
- Pain in the arms, legs or joints
- Gastrointestinal disturbances such as constipation, diarrhea, nausea, flatulence, heartburn
Uncommon side effects:
Following are the rarely encountered side effects of Atorvastatin that require medical attention:
- Confused state of mind
- Memory problems
- Dark colored urine
- Increased appetite and thirst
- Jaundice – Yellow discoloration of eyes or skin
- Rhabdomyolysis – A rare condition involving skeletal muscle breakdown, leading to kidney failure. The symptoms of the condition may include abnormal muscle pain, tenderness, lethargy, fever, and passing of dark colored urine
- Hepatic disorders – characterized by abdominal pain, lethargy, malaise, anorexia, dark-colored urine and jaundice
- Renal disorders – Signs include less amount of urine passed, swelling in the feet or ankles, lethargy and shortness of breath
How To Use:
Atorvastatin is available as tablets that can be taken orally, usually once a day. It can be taken with or without a meal. It is advised to be taken at the same time every day to maintain the concentration of the drug in the system for best results.
Atorvastatin may take up to 2 weeks to achieve its therapeutic function, and the drug should not be discontinued before.
The dosage varies with the medical condition, response to drug and the patient’s age.
The medication is started at low doses to observe the body’s response to it and the dose is increased in 2-4 weeks, depending upon the need.
The doses of Atorvastatin may need to be adjusted to lower strengths in patients taking Cyclosporine, Clarithromycin or certain protease inhibitors.
Atorvastatin is to be used along with a diet, exercise, and weight control as a complete treatment. For the best results, all of these must be managed along with the administration of Atorvastatin.
Administration of Atorvastatin in older patients and those with renal diseases are at an increased risk of getting Rhabdomyolysis.
Atorvastatin may react with the following drugs, leading to unwanted results:
- Oral contraceptives
- Other drugs for lowering cholesterol
- Cardiac drugs
- HIV or AIDS drugs
Atorvastatin is known to harm the fetus when used by the mother during pregnancy. Administration during pregnancy is associated with birth defects. It is also known to pass into breast milk and have adverse effects on the nursing baby. Atorvastatin should, therefore, not be taken during pregnancy and nursing.